Author Archives: Kevin

About Kevin

Kevin Sudeith is the war rug collector who built warrug.com. After starting to collect Afghan rugs, he began selling regular and war rugs to better study war rugs and their historical origins. Sudeith learned how war rugs related to traditional Afghan tribal and workshop rugs as well as the broader Turkmen and Persian rug traditions.

Info about Temple Exhibition

Temple has put together an informative website about the show of war rugs they hosted in 2016. The present a good inventory the rugs, and an interesting commentary.

The Libraries and the Intellectual Heritage Program present an exhibition of Afghan War Rugs, traditional hand knotted carpets that combine ancient practice with the latest in the daily lives of the weavers. Many of the rug designs originate in antiquity, but since the 1980’s now incorporate the war that spans from the Soviet invasion through today’s battles with the Taliban. The weavers have witnessed epic historical events, encoded them in their traditional art, and wrought important contemporary art

Here is our inventory of the rugs warrug.com loaned them for the show.





The Jacques Cadry Collection

In 2017 there was an exceptional auction in Australia, which I just learned about from Luca Brancati’s Pinterest, of the Australian rug dealer and expert Jacques Cadry’s collection.

Here is a fine Kirman pictorial rug showing a scene familiar to fans of Afghan Pictorial rugs showing a garden scene with a woman pouring wine in a scene taken from Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat.


Here is an Afghan take on the same subject:


Some of the Soviet figure rugs and war rugs sold looked familiar from the work of Nigel Lendon and Tim Bonyhady. If you know the location of that resource, please contact me.





Here are some fascinating rugs. The price estimates looked good, so I regret missing the opportunity to bid.



This one is amazing, with Alexander of Macedonia’s citadel.

There were four Baghlani rugs in the auction, each one unusual and cool.

There were also a few examples of so-called Diamond Herati designs, which are the famous Herati design from Herat area.



Finally, there are a couple rugs which provide a unique and important perspective on an Turkish war rug from around the time of World War I


Available, please stay tuned for better photos.

Graham Gower’s donation to British Museum

While looking at Luca Brancati’s war rug Pinterest I discovered a
rug in the collection of the British Museum which was donated by Graham Gower in 2010.

The most similar rug, that I have seen, to the rug above is this beautiful rug from the second iteration of the Weavings of War show which traveled the US from 2005 to 2007.


Graham Gower donated some other gems too.


More
More object details are here.


More object details are here.

More object details are here.

The The rest of Graham Gower’s donation is here.
Succinct list view. The dates are compelling

Artsy Story about War Rugs, Boetti, and Leah Dixon

Vanessa Thill wrote an an interesting piece about war rugs for Artsy. which reaffirms Alighiero Boetti’s influence on world map rugs.



Alighiero Boetti, Mappa, 1983-1984
Tornabuoni Art

Despite decades of war, ancient pattern techniques that can take months or years to complete are still passed from mother to daughter. Testimony from the makers of these carpets is difficult to obtain, as many of these works remain unattributed, and the female weavers lack easy access to modes of international communication. But the largest online archive of Afghan war rugs, maintained by New York–based artist Kevin Sudeith, offers information and an online store. Still, the weavers’ authorship is often lost when these works go to market, yet their masterful compositions reveal a dark humor and complex commentary on contemporary life.

In the carpets’ compositions, perspectival viewpoints merge and flatten to integrate three-dimensional forms with maps and repeating decorative patterns. Some of the rug designs are based on Charbagh, a quadrilateral layout inspired by the four gardens of Paradise described in the Qur’an. Another genre of rugs depicts national maps of Afghanistan, which may have been influenced by Alighiero Boetti’s map series.The Italian Conceptual artist traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1980s and worked with female weavers, first in Kabul and later in Peshawar, to create brightly colored tapestries depicting world maps with national flags labeled with bold text. In keeping with his interest in chance, Boetti sometimes left the color choices up to the women.
….
Because many artists shy away from this touchy subject matter, Dixon found unlikely peers in the anonymous rug weavers. The horrors of violence and the destruction of everyday life manifests in these carpets with an absurd levity. Dixon first created her own version in 2010—not woven but cut from colorful yoga mats. She described the work as an homage to the carpet weavers—and a jab at the United States’s commercialized relationship to war.



Leah Dixon, Don’t See a Need for Middlemen I, 2017–19.

Drone Rug in NY Times Opinion Piece

Opinion: The Secret Death Toll of America’s Drones

The Pentagon says American airstrikes in Somalia have killed no civilians since President Trump accelerated attacks against Shabab militants there two years ago.

Amnesty International investigated five of the more than 100 strikes carried out in Somalia since 2017 by drones and manned aircraft, and in just that small sampling found that at least 14 civilians were killed.

The Pentagon says airstrikes by the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State killed at least 1,257 civilians in Iraq and Syria as of the end of January.

Airwars, a university-based monitoring group, estimates that those strikes killed at least 7,500 civilians in those countries.

Those disparities show how poorly the American public understands the human cost of an air war fought largely by remote-controlled drones. Drones have been the main weapon in the counterterrorism fight for more than a decade. They kill extremists without risking American lives, making combat seem antiseptic on the home front. But the number of civilians killed in these attacks is shrouded in secrecy.

Similar drone rug available here

Tyne Bridge with Newcastle Swing Bridge



For some years there has been speculation about the location depicted in a group of landscape rugs showing a through arch bridge similar to the beautiful Sydney Harbour Bridge. The rugs in question though show a distinctive clock tower. Nigel Lendon was onto it in the post above (the ads and broken image links are unfortunate). These rugs show River Tyne with the Tyne Bride (through arch) and the Swing Bridge (at leftmost foreground in red and white.)



David R. Williams has a good
photo on Flickr from a similar vantage point showing both bridges


Abstract rug from the Textile Museum of Canada


Notice in the left foreground the white arch supported by red lines of the Swing Bridge.



This one is reversed (note the white arch on right) with warehouse building in foreground.

UPDATED, April 23, 2019
From Luca Brancati’s Pinterest board I discovered this beautiful and interesting rug. It is a grand Tyne Bridge rug, as seen by the double warehouse at the bottom right, and the little white line of the swing bridge above it. Oddly, it has heavy armor integrated into the streets of Newcastle.

More info here . I especially like the white rectangles with drooping pomegranates. The inner border is Mushwani, and the the burgundy background on the outer border also looks Mushwani. The reversal of the image and the abstraction of some buildings in the top panel is interesting.